Sunday, March 25, 2007

Comfort Women Stories (3) 慰安婦的故事(三) 慰安婦の物語(三)

Something different.... Taiwanese sex slaves dress up to realize dream of weddings (April 19, 2006 Associated Press)

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Taiwanese women forced into prostitution by Japan’s military more than six decades ago put on wedding gowns Tuesday to celebrate the nuptials they never had.
The women are part of a shrinking group of “comfort women” — forced into sexual slavery by Japan’s military — in several parts of Asia during World War II.
After Japan ended its 50-year occupation of Taiwan in 1945, many of the women were rejected as “damaged goods” by their relatives and never found a spouse, said the Women’s Rescue Foundation, the rights group which organized Tuesday’s event.
Six women — ranging in age from 82 to 90 — came together in Taipei to put on white wedding dresses, hold bouquets and have their pictures taken.
“People of our age didn’t dare dream of having a wedding, but now the day has come, and I like it a lot,” said Wu Hsiu-mei, the oldest member of the group.
Taiwan has 28 of the women left, with an average age of 84, according to the foundation.

Some Youtube videos on the Comfort Women:
(Survivor:Cook Islands Winner Yul Kwon on his support for US Res.121 on the Comfort Women)
(Filipino Comfort Women 1999)
(Taiwanese Comfort Women: 60 yrs of Pain and Tears)

PS: Just to be balanced, I would like to point out that not only the Japanese military but other countries soldiers and civilians also raped women in large numbers during WW2. For example, The Russian Red Army was particularly hideous in its conduct in the immediate postwar period. The Russian Military raped many German women after the collapse of Nazi Germany when its forces entered and occupied Germany and many Japanese women were raped by the Russians as well when it entered and occupied former Manchuria. Many Japanese civilians did not have time to escape given that evacuation orders were only sent a couple of days before the surrender of Japan. It is said that some Korean and Chinese men also raped Japanese women in revenge in the chaos of the immediate postwar period.
Of cos, in conflicts since WW2, the rape of women has become part and parcel of almost every other conflict with names like Bosnia, Rwanda, and East Timor coming to mind....
Rape in War was, Is, and, Will Always be a Unacceptable and Demeaning Weapon...

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Happy 75th B'day Sydney Harbour Bridge!!!... 雪梨大橋75週年全民步行...シドニーハーバーブリッジ75週年...

Sydney Harbour Bridge, one of the world's most iconic structures, and indeed amazing in sight, celebrated its 75 th Birthday on March 18 2007...with a huge walkathon across the bridge...traffic was blocked off for the longest period in its entire history being shut off from the night before until 11pm on the day. Light displays and military air display accompanied the historic bridge walk celebration and it was indeed a sight to see thousands upon thousands of ppl all wearing the orange or yellow caps distributed out...a sea of orange and yellow...simply amazing.

I attended the 6 30 session as i didn't want to miss the Aboriginal 'smoke ceremony' which was only going to occur during that time slot and the 7pm one...oh yeah, the walk was from sometime in the morning until the last 7 30 slot so u had to register to walk in a particular session so that there would not be too many people all on the bridge at the exact same time...

and the night time display of lights was simply fantastic..u wouldn't have got that if u were walking across the bridge during the daytime which was another consideration to walk during the without further ado, i shall let the photos do the talking..:)

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

International Women's Day:Comfort Women 'Wed Demo'.07..国際女性の日:慰安婦...三八婦女節﹕慰安婦 打開沉默

International Women's Day Wednesday Demonstration in front of the Japanese Embassy.
50 yrs of Silence....60 yrs of Denial :
Silence Broken...The Comfort Women Story

SBS Australia Radio interviewing Dutch-Australian former comfort woman Jan Ruff O'Hearne
Former Comfort Women handing a petition to the Japanese Embassy Consul demanding that Japan officially apologise for the Comfort Women sexual slavery system.
From left to right, Former Comfort Women: Gil Won-Ok from South Korea, Wu Hsiu-Mei from Taiwan, and Jan Ruff O'Hearne from Australia.

March 8 was International Women's Day, a day designated to honour and protect the dignity and rights of all women across the globe. I celebrated it on March 7 in a very meaningful and significant way. I attended the first Comfort Women 'Wednesday Demonstration' held in front of the Japanese Embassy in Sydney which was the first Comfort Women protest rally ever held in Australia. We were joined by three former comfort women victims, one from South Korea, Gil Won-Ok, one from Taiwan, Wu Hsiu-Mei, and one from Australia, Jan Ruff O-Hearne who resides in Adelaide now. All three former comfort women gave testimonies of their experiences of sexual slavery by the Japanese army.
I think i was the only one who could understand the testimony of the Taiwanese one whom spoke in Taiwanese Hokkien (it was interpreted into English) in its original form. I later spoke directly with the Taiwanese comfort woman and i was the only one there who actually spoke directly to her given that everyone else couldn't understand Taiwanese Hokkien and had to rely on the interpretation of a Taiwanese woman's group member whose english was not really good and i noticed many errors and misinterpreting between what the woman actually said and what they told in broken english to reporters.

Comfort Women refer to the approximately 200,000 Asian women whom were either coerced, tricked, deceived, or simply kidnapped into wartime brothels run for the Imperial Japanese Army during WW2. The Japanese forces were responsible for planning, setting up, and in many cases transporting these sex slaves to the frontline brothels. Each former sex slave was forced to have sex with an average of 20-40 men per day in appalling and dangerous conditions, with reports of frequent abuse, beating, and insufficient food to eat. More importantly, the Japanese state authorities as well as the Imperial Army were responsible for directly or indirectly setting up this sexual slavery system and coercing the women in Japanese-occupied Asian territories into the military brothels.

This was exactly what Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe denied on March 1 this month, when asked in the Diet in regards to the United State's 'Comfort Women Apology' Resolution currently in the House of Representatives, he said 'It is a fact that there is no evidence to support that there was coercion; as it was defined at the time.' He stressed later that there was no evidence to support the fact that Japanese soldiers had hunted women by breaking into homes and dragging them away to brothels. He however conceded that private contractors employed by the Japanese military did use coercion to obtain the women for the military brothels. This differs from a significant number of politicians in Japan's current ruling party, the LDP, who insist that the women were not forced into the brothels at all. He stubbornly repeated this position a couple of times within the next few days until international condemnation and the worldwide storm of criticism heaved on him forced him to backpedal and reiterate that the Japanese government stood by the 1993 'Kono Statement/Apology' which was issued as a result of the Japanese government's own official investigation into the matter which concluded that the Japanese military was directly or indirectly involved in coercing women from Japan's Asian colonies/invaded territories into wartime sexual slavery and apologised for the grievous psychological and physical harm caused to the former comfort women as well as recognised that the system was a grave affront upon the honour and dignity of these women.
The issue of comfort women, which is an area of my immense interest and research/advocacy, was again brought into the limelight recently by the reintroduction of a US resolution calling for a formal, unambiguous, and official (one approved by the Japanese parliament) apology for the comfort women issue. Previous resolutions on the comfort women issue failed to pass due to intense lobbying by Japanese government agents in the previously Republican held US House of Rep. Now, with a Democrat held majority in the US House of Rep, it is expected to pass. On February 15, for the first time in US history, a US Congressional Hearing on the testimonies of 3 former comfort women, including a Dutch-Australian woman, made headline news around the world and was on Australian tv news reports as well: link:,2933,252100,00.html

Prime Minister Abe insists that there is no documentary evidence to prove that the women were 'coerced' in the 'narrow sense' as in kidnapped by Japanese soldiers whilst admitting coercion in the 'broad sense' as in creating a system for abuse. He was effectively attempting to downplay the responsibility of the Japanese military for its wartime crimes.

There has been numerous blog posts by Japan and Korean bloggers on the issue with debate heated as to whether the comfort women were sex slaves or merely prostitutes. Top newspapers around the world including the New York Times have also devoted many headline articles on the Abe denial of comfort women slavery and almost all Western media reports on the comfort women issue have been supportive of the position that the japanese army did force asian women into sexual slavery during WW2 (believe me, i've researched and read over 20 articles from newspapers around the world online and almost all support the sex slavery stance!!! I'm sooo happy...)

I got so pissed off and am still SUPER pissed off at Abe and his ruling party LDP (the LDP party is now planning to relaunch an investigation into the comfort women issue proving that the women were prostitutes on their own free will, with the support of the Japanese government...arseholes!!) for their stubborn denials and refusal to see the truth...that fuc*king Abe! He should go get fuc*ked by a group of gay soldiers and be forced to have sex with 30 men for like 2 years in a brothel and then we'll say he 'did it for the money' and 'volunteered' his services....

I just don't understand why Abe and his colleagues have to be so pedantic over the word 'coercion'....does it really matter whether a girl was dragged from her home by Japanese soldiers or whether it was the private contractors who did the dragging or whether it was the girl herself who willingly went to the brothels after being tricked into thinking their destinations would be factories but instead turned out to be brothels????? There are people who say there is no documentary evidence of that i say, OF COURSE THERE ISN'T, DON"T THEY KNOW THAT THE WARTIME JAPANESE GOVT BURNED ALL DOCUMENTS THAT PROVED their warcrimes before the American military even arrived in Tokyo Bay in Sept 1945...they knew there would be trouble if the Americans ever found any written evidence of their warcrimes and so they covered it up by burning the evidence ....

Also testimonies from countless former comfort women and former soldiers admitting to their involvement in the system IS evidence, i simply don't get how some japanese officials insist that testimonies aren't credible...who says?? In a crime like rape, it is often testimonies that are extremely important...its almost all u've got in most cases and if we were to say there is no physical evidence that the women were raped and that women's testimonies of having been raped are false (that in fact there was consent) then i can tell u, convictions for rape would be near impossible without a confession. Even in this case, former soldiers have come forward to admit having raped women during WW2.....why would they lie? Further, how is it possible for 'prostitutes' across various countries from Korea to Malaysia to Indonesia all give similar testimonies on their work conditions and all lie about it?? Some Japanese right-wingers simply DON"T SEE THE EVIDENCE PROPERLY, or more accurately, they DON'T WANT to see the truth...

Further my research has shown that the Japanese army and state officials did indeed DIRECTLY FORCE women in some cases into brothels...below is a summary of my findings:

Korean and Taiwanese Comfort Women: In the case of women of the former colonies of Japan, the most common method for the procurement of 'comfort women' sex slaves was through deception, trickery, and even the LAW! Most women were deceived by korean/taiwanese brokers into believing that they were going to go overseas to work in highpaying factories and cleaning jobs or as nurses for the military...of cos when they arrived, it was a very different was brothels that awaited them.
There were also incidences of kidnapping off the streets by korean/taiwanese brokers and policemen. The most hideous and direct nature is no doubt the National Mobilization Law put in place by the colonial government which made it illegal for civilians, including women, to refuse to be enlisted. Most were sent to factories to make ammunitions and war supplies. However, some were sent to brothels and were forced into sexual slavery instead.(note: pls note that in Japan, the NML also drafted Japanese female civilians into wartime industries)

It is important to highlight that native brokers are also HIGHLY responsible for procuring the women as they were involved in almost all cases of deception and not just the japanese authorities. This is often not mentioned due to the complicated nature, not to mention highly sensitive issue of native koreans/taiwanese colloborating with the Japanese in the comfort women system.

Filipino, Malaysian, Burmese, Vietnamese, Chinese Comfort Women:
In the case of Japanese occupied territories, as there was no long term system of japanese governance, and in wartime conditions, almost ALL comfort women from SEA and China were DIRECTLY KIDNAPPED by Japanese soldiers and dragged to military batallions and brothels to be raped. Actually, it is important to note that the state plan was to only use Korean women in the comfort stations as one of the key considerations for the comfort women system was to prevent the rape of local women in occupied territories and thus antagonise the local population against the Japanese Army and also to prevent espionage by local women with resistance groups. Using Korean women prevented spies as koreans wouldn't be able to communicate with the local resistance groups in South East Asia and China. Thus, in most cases, the use of filipino women and chinese women was through japanese soldiers themselves deciding to kidnap the women with superiors tolerating the practice more than a policy. However, ultimately, the japanese authorities must take responsiblity as there is no doubt that policy or otherwise japanese soldiers directly kidnapped women in most cases involving chinese and filipino women.

Dutch Comfort Women: In the case of Dutch women, the only group of Caucasian women known to have been forced into comfort station brothels by the Japanese during the war, there is no doubt that, again, they were all kidnapped and forced by the Japanese military from their internment camps into japanese brothels. There is just no way that u can say these women whom must have viewed Japan as the enemy having been put into internment camps after the invasion of Indonesia( then called the Dutch-East Indies) would then decide to voluntarily service Japanese soldiers. In the film 'Paradise Road' by Glenn Close, it is wrongly depicted that Dutch women had voluntarily entered prostitution because they were offered clean water, plenty of food and no more hard labour if they decided to service the japanese officers. The fact was, there was simply no choice and they were dragged off in trucks from the internment camps without their consent.

I've read recently some japanese bloggers saying that most comfort women must have been japanese women and why have there not been any Japanese women coming forward? Well, the comfort women system consisted ONLY of foreign asian women and thus there is no japanese women coming forward bcos there were simply no japanese comfort women. These dumb japanese nationalist simply want to again portray themselves as the victims by saying that japanese were also enslaved and also they don't use their stupid brains to think. Its SO obvious why japanese women weren't forced to become comfort women if u think about it for even one second. Japan at the time was under the ideology that the Japanese were a superior race above other Asians and even a unique race to Europeans. Thus, they had no qualms enslaving 'lower races' like Koreans and Chinese into sexual slavery. In any war, one nation will always increase the patriotism and uniqueness of their citizens and demonise the opposite side and thus, the Japanese couldn't possibly have forced their own women into comfort brothels given that it would be extremely demoralising if Japanese soldiers found out that their own sisters were being forced into brothels when they were out to fight a war. Further, japanese women were to produce strong healthy babies, similar to in Nazi Germany, and were not to be sexual play-things of the military. Thats why there are no Japanese comfort women...

Then there are those who say that the Americans should apologise also for using R&R/brothels in Japan after the war. But these were set up by the Japanese government and the women who worked there were gathered by the Japanese government. Of course, if there is evidence that the American occupying forces had 'commandered' or 'ordered' that women be provided, then the USA must also be responsible for any abuses of women in the brothel. However, there is no evidence that the brothels were set up by orders of the Americans nor evidence that the japanese women were forced into them. Most went willingly as former prostitutes.

Ultimately, regardless of whether the women were kidnapped or tricked by private brokers, or kidnapped by Japanese soldiers, the women were forced against their will into sexual slavery FOR the Imperial Japanese Army. Thats what is important, not whether the private brokers did the procurement or the japanese military did the procurement. Even if private brokers were mainly involved in the provision of these women, once they arrived at the brothels, it was the Japanese Soldiers who did the raping and guarding of the women, not the private brokers. Thats why an apology is needed and why the comfort women issue should be taught in Japanese textbooks. References of the comfort women were in japanese textbooks, introduced in 1997, but they were deleted from all 8 textbooks used in Japanese highschools as of 2006.
To end,I would like to quote Australian former comfort woman Jan Ruff O'Hearne...." Many stories have been told about the brutalities, insults....and horrors of the Japanese military, but one story was never told. The most shameful story.....the story of the Comfort Women..."
Links on the comfort women: (The Media Links section is VERY USEFUL. It contains links to numerous articles in newspapers worldwide on the comfort women issue.) Amnesty International's Campaign on Comfort Women. PLEASE READ THE TESTIMONIES AND THE AMNESTY OFFICIAL REPORT. THE STORIES ARE HORRENDOUS!!! (Contains UN reports and recommendations on the Comfort Women) V Day 'Vagina Monologues' Spotlight Campaign for 2006: Comfort Women

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Mardi Gras '07.... 雪梨同志遊行...シドニーマーディグラー...

One of the numerous Mardi Gras Flags displayed around the city
My Seriously Blurred Pic of some dance performance at the Parade...

More dance performances....

The thousands of people who lined up to watch the parade...i'm not kidding, there must have been at least 1,000 spectators there....

More people along both sides of the parade route..... its over 1km long...running along the stretch of Oxford Street...

One of the many transgendered performers....

Dancing Go-go Boys........

No, we're not at Bondi Beach, the lifesavers are just purely for the parade and for gay men to oogle at their nice well sculpted bodies and the 'uniform' kinkiness....hehe... ohmy gosh!!! u should have seen some of the men at the parade, their bodies are like perfectly moulded...and this Thai guy on the Thai Float section, he is sooooooooo cute and amazingly good-looking...and the 2 topless guys shaking provocatively their hips on another one of the floats...woooo...

My Long delayed Post on the Mardi Gras Parade....well it was my first time at the Mardi Gras, and also my first time at any Gay Pride Parade for that matter.....tho i've been to the Melbourne Midsumma Carnival Day which is like a day time event, more like a picnic, with booths and stalls promoting gay stuff...

Well, i must say it was one of THE BEST PARADES i've ever been to in my whole life.....the entire atmosphere was one of support and fun and everyone i could tell was having so much fun!! For those who've never been, this is truly a big event in Sydney cos like i would say half of all the people there were straight people NOT gay....alot of tourists were there i could tell and alot of young people, couples (straight ones!) and to my surprise families had even brought along their grandparents to have a look....more on that later.....!

I was really surprised to see the number of people who had turned up for the parade....i kinda thought Mardi Gras wasn't really that popular...u know, only the gay people and some young liberal straight people will attend the parade but boy was I many people attended when u walked towards the parade route from the city, it became so crowded all of a sudden and people had gone really early to get a spot to watch the parade....there were people standing on chairs, on the bus stop waiting areas and....even on tree branches (that was until the police asked them to come down!!), And my housemate asked me whether i had gone to watch the Mardi Gras Parade when i got home...which just goes to show how popular the parade is....i mean why would she ask if it wasn't a popular parade which many people go to??

Now, the bad thing was my camera went abit bonkers just as the parade was about to start and so i couldn't take many photos (arrrggghhh!!!!!) but i did make a clip of the entire parade using my new mobile phone's built-in videocamera....

The Parade itself was fantastic and much tamer than i expected....not alot of nudity, only 4 or 5 floats with half naked dancing boys and in the beginning some of the lesbian women went topless on their bikes....of cos there was this man whom literally walked about naked with knitting wrapped around his...ahem...'doodle'....for want of a better word...and he walked passed this Chinese grandmother (the grannie i mentioned earlier brought by her family) and i was expecting a look of shock or horror from her face or maybe even looks of disgust from spectators but noooooo grannie had one of the finest grins on her face and she looked delighted at the sight of the naked man..(mayb its been awhile i guess....grandpa must've stopped a long time bck)....

The entire parade was fun and people were really into the atmosphere with everyone cheering and screaming the performers on, and this Malaysian guy standing next to me cheering on with his hands up as if he was at a concert (and i'm almost certain he is NOT just can tell)....oh was quite an eye opening experience for me and the entire Oxford St became like a street party with revellers and spectators drinking booze and everyone super high...

I think everyone had tons of fun and after the parade you could see people were still in a high mood...groups of obviously straight people were wandering around with a 'pink flag of the UK' and a British guy who was with his girlfriend and another straight couple even fooled around saying which guy he was truly a fantastic night!!

So for those thinking of visiting Sydney, if u do come during the Mardi Gras period, do attend the Parade cos its all great fun and u won't regret it!! Also NO ONE is going to think u r gay just bcos u come along cos like i said, at least half of all the people watching that night were straight...and for those Sydneysiders who've never been yet (wherever have u been all this time?!) do come along the next time the Mardi Gras Parade is held cos its fun, entertaining, and a way to show your support for the gay and lesbian community, and thus meaningful too:)

Random Photos of Life....生活雜像館

Sydney Fish Market
Saw this T'Shirt at Balmain, a nice suburb, and i just had to buy it!! (despite it being pretty ex for a mere t-shirt...blah) Reason: The Chinese characters across the front are quite meaningful....Old Chinese Proverb 'Walking Thousand Miles of the World is better than Reading Thousand Scrolls of Books'....
"Sarawak Body Butter"...was passing a Body Shop store and saw the ad promoting theri newest collection 'Sarawak' on display, and of course lah being the patriotic Malaysian that i am, i went into the shop to see what it was (i seldom go into body shop btw) and the staff said the name indeed came from the rainforest of i bought it....its body cream...i'm getting lazy nowadays to use it...i can never maintain these beauty products...remember the handcream and nail polisher i bought last yr? Well it didn't even last one month before i stopped using them cos i was too lazy...BUT i am going to endeavour to use this given how expensive it is!!

Sedap Roti Chanai Telur at Mamak Stall in Chinatown Friday Night Market.....
One of the countless nicely designed law firms i visit on errands has a fantastic view of the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour (see below)....sigh...